Earn more or $ave more?


This is a great question many people disagree on. What’s your thoughts?

$aving George


Dollar for dollar, I will always choose cutting costs (even though they aren’t mutually exclusive so this question doesn’t really matter anyway). I outlined why I take that stance earlier this week https://www.marriedwithmoney.com/when-a-dollar-isnt-a-dollar-the-case-for-cutting-costs/

TL;DR: Taxes make your dollar earned less than one dollar. A dollar in cost you cut, is a dollar LESS you need to survive, theoretically forever. (putting you closer to early retirement)

The key is to not let lifestyle inflation get the best of you. It’s easy to think a $1200/yr raise is $100 extra a month in your pocket. It’s not.

But if you cut our cable TV and reduce your cell phone bill and that saves you $1200/yr? That’s actually $100 extra in your pocket.


Totally agree! We’re definitely on the same page. Thanks for replying!

$aving George


I’ll take the ‘earn more’ side. I find that a pay raise is usually more substantial than any amount I can cut from my budget. Obviously if you are eating out every night, travelling a lot, and constantly buying new clothes you can save a lot by cutting costs but that’s not the case for me. I work within a budget that is comfortable for me and there are not many things I’m willing to eliminate. There’s a limit to how much you can save but your earning potential is unlimited.


Depends if you are living on a bare bones budget or living large…


Why not both?


I’m also a fan of both :moneybag: :innocent:

Earning more is useless if you’re not making an effort to save. And saving becomes difficult if you don’t earn enough to set something aside.


I’m in favor of cutting costs because it allows you to set up good money habits. However, if you already have that in place in your life, then I’m in favor of earning more. As others in this thread have brought up, you can stop eating out and cut out the cable, but a big pay bump will have a bigger impact.


Both for sure. Live fugally and remember you are a free agent always trying to earn more. But, I enjoy cutting costs, negotiating bills, and saving more. Earning more requires more of my free time, and is less fun.


Earn more.

Invest in yourself, gain more marketable skills that command a premium, and then work smarter not harder to maximise what each hour of effort you expend returns.

As you can’t (sustainably) spend more than you earn, the upside of cost cutting is constrained by what you earn. If you’re earning minimum wage there is only so far you can tighten your belt, and ever after doing so you’ll be unlikely to get ahead financially.


Great post Sarah and valid points! Congratulations on doing so well with your finances! I myself think “both” is the best answer if one can pull it off. Unfortunately, many people do well just to earn a living. Earning potential is very limited to some. Another good answer would be do the one that motivates you. Also I see people that earn tons of money but in order to “keep up with those amazing Joneses” they rack up so much debt that very little SAVING gets done. I appreciate you Sarah and thanks for participating!


Thanks and great points!


Earning more is extremely powerful. I also enjoy cutting back simply because the lower my expenses, the LESS I need to survive lol


I’m showcasing all your answers in my next blog post. Thank you guys for your responses! :slight_smile:


If it were possible to do both, that’d be ideal. Depends upon the level of effort required in getting more income. Does a promotion require an extra 20+ hours / week? Cutting the cable-cord requires an hour of negotiating with the cable company… but then you’re also cutting out x hours of watching TV; however, maybe some people add extra subscription services to compensate. So, how long does breaking a TV-watching habit take? That’s the real question.


Lol it didn’t take me long at all! I absolutely love my “free tv” each month and the real wealth killer “car payments” that I’m SO GLAD I DON’T HAVE! Thanks Barb :slight_smile:


Blog post is now up. Thanks again everyone :slight_smile:


I would also say both. I don’t think it’s a point worth debating, which is better. It depends on the situation, no? And priorities. I am doing some consulting on the side, and I like the extra income, but I have to work every weekend and that’s a drag. I have a chance to market my business at a nonprofit expo next week, and I can’t decide whether to go. On the one hand, I might land a great new client. But then, ugh, I have to do the work. I want time for my family, my friends and myself. My daughter’s weeping angel Halloween costume isn’t going to make itself. I am grateful to have choices, to earn more, to save more, to pass up a gig in favor of free time, to go a little spendy on something every once in a while…


So funny, we’re just writing up an article on this topic and here we find it being discussed. We’re a bit late to the party but our thoughts are that you need to do both. Saving more is always a good idea and it can provide immediate results. But there is only so much you can cut before you feel like you’re depriving yourself and that’s not a great recipe for long-term success. So it is equally important to start earning more which has far more potential anyway.


I agree that earning more is extremely powerful! Also I’ve cut tons of expenses and yet to feel “deprived” lol… I guess I just don’t need as much as some people. Thanks for sharing!